Chinese astronauts (from L to R) Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping salute in a re-entry capsule during a training at Beijing Aerospace City in Beijing, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
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China will launch a "core module" for its first space station some time around 2018, a senior official told the state-run Xinhua news agency Thursday, part of a plan to have a permanent manned space station in service around 2022 .The "core module" for the space station would be called the "Tianhe-1", the Chinese word for galaxy or Milky Way, Wang Zhongyang, spokesman for the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, told Xinhua.In a manned space mission in 2013, three Chinese astronauts spent 15 days in orbit and docked with an experimental space laboratory, the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 1 .This year, China will launch the Tiangong 2 and Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, which will carry two astronauts and dock with Tiangong 2, Xinhua added.
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